WISH UPON is the very definition of why PG-13 horror movies don’t work anymore. Except for those few rare occasions (such as the first Insidious or the first Ring) they just don’t work. Can you scare people or freak them out anymore with cut away deaths and a millisecond flash of gore? No. You have to rub the audiences’ face in it to get them to fear. I get that you cut it or make it PG-13 to get a wider audience and more box office bucks, but I don’t think these geniuses realize that you are actually doing the exact opposite. And it’s not like R rated horror doesn’t work. Look at The Conjuring movies. Look at Saw back in it’s prime. They worked, and brought in the dough. Wish Upon isn’t terrible by any means, in fact, it’s a lazy half way decent lazy afternoon on Netflix. But the fact that it could’ve been so much more is infuriating, making me wish that sometimes PG-13 didn’t exist.
The main problem with Wish Upon is that it cuts away from EVERY SINGLE DEATH either right when it happens or right before. We see the guts of a dog and a few blood splotches on Joey King’s sweater, and that is it. And there were some cool deaths in this movie, a la Final Destination style. But where as Final Destination wasn’t afraid to have the audience see a sharp bottom of a latter go through someone’s eye, this one doesn’t want to show a female being impaled through the head by a bull statue. It doesn’t want to show a chainsaw decapitating someone. It should want to show shards of glass going through someone as an elevator leads a character to certain doom. It doesn’t want to show a scalp being ripped off. And I’m so mad because you can tell this was shot for an R rating and the little studio douches had their way with it to get the PG-13 rating, hoping that people went flocking to the theaters.
The premise had me flocking to the theater, but the execution makes me not want to recommend it to anyone. It just feels like a lazy production. The actors in this deserved better. Joey King actually gives a pretty good damn performance in this, as does Barb from Stranger Things, Ryan Philieppe and others. And an extreme horror variation on Monkey’s Paw and Button, Button is quite intriguing, but when you get a product like this you just want to pick up a novella and read the short stories again. The editing is so choppy it is nauseating, the deaths and who is going to die is extremely predictable, the ending is extremely predictable too, and they waste a mid credit scene by going with the obvious except for the 1,265 ways that would’ve made a stinger more interesting and at least thinking about a decent sequel.
Some of the characters motivations puzzled me a bit, and the way to overcome and beat this evil wishing box is actually not that hard. I figured out several scenarios in ways that a wish couldn’t ultimately make the box not exist, but then their wouldn’t be a movie right? Well at least there could’ve been a smart and cool ending. The director on this film previously did Annabelle, the first one, which sucked too, so I don’t know why I am going to give this guy a chance anymore. If this thing has a director’s/unrated cut, I might watch it one more time to see if there is any cool gory shots and see if the tension is ramp’d up a little bit.
But that is ‘wishful’ thinking. See what I did there? Like I said, the movie isn’t terrible, it is quite watchable, and someone asked me to give it a rating and I said a solid C, which is better than a lot of D and F’s I’ve given other horror crap this year. This movie could’ve been so much more. It could’ve revitalized The Omen, Final Destination Rube Goldberg plot kills and maybe even brought those franchises back with a vengeance. Instead, horror films are still going to be searching for what “it” genre factor they are going to be for awhile. They can’t decide. In the 90s we had slasher, then in early 2000s we had torture porn, then later 2000s we had supernatural ghost/exorcism phenomenon’s and now horror movies just don’t know where to go anymore. I don’t wish I hadn’t seen this movie, I just wish I had seen a little more effort.